DeBarr Completes Career with Complete Game Gem
By Katie Baughman and Mike Shapiro
After a storied 15 year professional career that brought him twice to the AAA level (Rays and Dodgers) and his final four seasons with the Pacifics, Nick DeBarr finished it all with a 119-pitch complete game win against the Pittsburg Diamonds Saturday.
“I can’t thank all the Pacifics family enough,” said DeBarr during a tearful on-field ceremony after the game. “The players, coaches, staff and owners have treated me so well and gave me the chance to finish my career with a tremendous amount of support.”
DeBarr finished his career with a 69-78 record, including a 9-5 record at AAA and 14-21 over his four years in San Rafael. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story of this ballplayer, an imposing figure on the mound (6’3”, 245 lb.) who singularly defined Pacifics baseball with grace, strength and quiet dignity.
It was DeBarr who stood out among his peers as the consummate professional, the guy teammates turned to for approval or to avoid his icy stare when the frivolity of 20-somethings offended his strict sense of clubhouse decorum.
In the heat of summer, after BP, when the others went to the Safeway for a sandwich or sat cornered in the field box for a game of cards, it was DeBarr, “DeBo” as he was called, running his laps, drenched in sweat, earplugs in place, lumbering across the outfield with implacable purpose.
“We couldn’t be prouder of him,” manager and close friend Matt Kavanaugh said tearfully after the game. “He’s a team player and leader in every aspect of his game. It’s hard not to get emotional on a night like tonight; the team wouldn’t be the same without him.”
DeBarr threw his final game in front of 741 fans, Albert Park’s largest crowd this season, who gathered to raise breast cancer awareness on “Saving Second Base Night”.
Joining his teammates wearing bras for a pre-game team picture, DeBarr smiled thinly at the seeming incongruence of wearing a bra before taking the mound for the last time. Known for his slavery to pre-start routine and his crankiness to those who might disrupt his building focus, it was on this day, his coda to a life in the game he loves, that he appropriately wore a bra to support women with breast cancer.
“I will greatly miss Nick DeBarr on this team,” Pacifics General Manager Mike Shapiro commented. “He is the consummate professional, a man committed to his craft and someone I greatly admire.”
After Juan Herrera drew a leadoff walk, the Pacifics took a 1-0 first-inning lead off Dennis Neal on Jake Taylor’s single to center giving Taylor his league-leading 64th RBI this season.
Wes Wallace logged the Diamonds’ biggest hit of the night with a three-run homer in the third to give Pittsburg a 3-1 lead. But with Miles Williams and Zach Goldstein on base on a hit-by-pitch and single to center field, Herrera’s three-run homer put the Pacifics up a run after four.
San Rafael kept the lead the rest of the night, adding a run in the fifth on Michael Rizzitello’s leadoff walk and an error by Zack Rapacz in right field. Phildrick Llewellyn drove in Rizzitello with a sac-fly to up the Pacifics lead 5-3.
After Herrera threw Wes Wallace’s grounder wide to first and DeBarr walked Pittsburg powerhouse Vinny Guglietti, Wallace stole two bases to put the Diamonds down a run in the sixth. But with Guglietti at third after Kevin Farley walked and was caught stealing, a J.J. Wagner got DeBarr out of the jam to keep the lead at 5-4.
From there, the Pacifics held the lead, scoring the first of four runs in the seventh on Rizzitello and Taylor’s singles and a wild pitch from Neal. With runners at first and third on Phildrick Llewellyn’s one-out infield single, Miles Williams launched a 1-1 fastball for a three-run homer, his 13th of the season.
Up four to start the eighth, San Rafael put up three more runs on Herrera’s leadoff double and two walks from Diamonds reliever Joe Mello. Taylor and catcher Ricky Gingras’ putouts drove in the three runs, giving San Rafael its largest lead of the night 12-4.
Though J.J. Wagner hit a one-out solo shot to cut the lead 12-5, DeBarr saved his best for the ninth, striking out two to close it out.
“I’m going to miss the game and all the guys in this clubhouse,” said DeBarr, still wet from the obligatory water keg drenching. “I’m grateful for all the people who stood by me over the years. Even when I was down in my career or injured or not sure if there would still be a place for me to play, I had my family, my friends and my teammates behind me. I’m so thankful for all that I’ve been given.”
The Pacifics will look for the sweep in their final game against the Diamonds this season at 1:05 PM. It’s Sunday Fun Day at Albert Park, where kids can enjoy a water slide and fun in-between-inning games. As part of Augtoberfest, the Pacifics will also offer beer for $3.
For tickets, visit pacificsbaseball.com.